The Spartans 1 – 3 University of Stirling
Ainslie Park, 17/10/20, 3pm
By Graham Fleming at Ainslie Park
The University of Stirling ran out 3-1 winners over nine-man Spartans – clocking up their second victory in five days – in an eventful 90 minutes at Ainslie Park.
The students took an early lead through Jamie Penker – scoring in his third consecutive match – as the industrious forward capitalised on a cross at the back post. However, Spartans’ Blair Atkinson levelled with a penalty on the half-hour mark after goalkeeper Ben Fry fouled him in the box.
With the sides inseparable at the break, Stirling started the second half brightly and were awarded their own penalty after Penker was impeded in the box. Spartans captain Adam Corbett was dismissed for his involvement and Conor Doan made it count, neatly slotting past the outstretched goalkeeper.
A second red was shown to the home side in the final moments of the game, after defender Mikey Allan hauled down substitute Euan Baird on the edge of the box.
Louis Kennedy scored from the rebound of the resulting free kick – capping an excellent victory for the students in an entertaining affair.
Three in three: Jamie Penker has netted in the last three games.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “I’m delighted, it’s three points away from home. I’m over the moon.
“For the opening goal, Robbie McGale put in a great delivery and Jamie put it away, that’s three in three games. Credit to Jamie, I don’t think we’ve had a striker score in three consecutive games in a number of years.
“Again, it was great striker play from Jamie for the penalty, with Conor sticking it away neatly, and the third goal was just the icing on the cake – and I’m delighted for Louis to get his goal.”
University of Stirling travelled to Ainslie park having won their previous Lowland League game against Cumbernauld Colts on Tuesday.
Chris Geddes and Conor Doan react to the 3-1 win versus The Spartans at Ainslie Park.
The students opened the scoring with their first real chance of the game, as McGale supplied an inch-perfect cross from the right for Penker, who dispatched a composed side-foot finish at the back post.
It should have been a second for Penker moments later, but his header from the penalty spot only found the hands of Spartans goalkeeper Blair Carswell.
On 31 minutes, a miscalculated challenge from Stirling goalkeeper Fry led to referee Jonathan Gall pointing to the spot and Atkinson dispatched into the top-left corner to equalise. The home side then had an opportunity to take the lead after Marcus Lavery lost the ball in the middle of the park, however the finish was lacking as it trickled past the post.
Both teams sensed opportunity at the beginning of the second half and it was Stirling who made the breakthrough 10 minutes after the break. Penker got on the end of a lofted ball over the top and was pulled down by Corbett – resulting in a red card and penalty. Doan – who scored from the spot in the previous match – made no mistake as he drove it into the bottom right-hand corner.
Spartans cranked up the pressure, however, the students stood tall and held onto their lead.
Stirling sealed all three points in injury time as Baird capitalised on a slack pass in the Spartans defence. Allan chopped him down on the edge of the box and saw red for the last-man challenge. Doan thundered in the free kick and Carswell could only palm it to an onrushing Kennedy, who tapped in from close range.
The University are at home to Vale of Leithen next Saturday where they will hope to continue their winning form. Keep up to date with the University’s news, fixtures and results at: stirlingunifc.stir.ac.uk
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Quigley, Doan, Lavery (Hall 68’), Downie, Davidson, Berry (Bremner 89’), Penker (Kennedy 68’), Jarvis (Baird 89’), McGale (Heath 78’).
Scorers: Penker 13’, Doan 57’ (p), Kennedy 90’
The Spartans: Carswell, Russell (Tait 81’), Allan, Corbett, Baur (Meekison 62’), Woods, Brown, Jones, Dawson (Bolochoweckyi 62’), McCrory-Irving (Maxwell 62’), Atkinson
Scorers: Atkinson 31’
Red cards: Corbett 57’, Allan 90’